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Buckshot Frank

I'm getting a Dillon- Need some advice

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I've decided to go ahead and buy a Dillon. I was looking to buy another pistol, but my wife convinced me that the money would be better spent on a progressive press. I was looking at the Hornady, but the thread about Dillon's customer sevice was the tipping point. I've been researching quite a bit on the Brian Enos site, and plan to order from there (free shipping). I would like some advice on upgrades.

 

I have decided on the 650. I am used to auto-indexing on my Lee Classic Turret and I can't go back, so the 550 is out. I'll be loading for mutiple calibers (not immediately, but I want the capability) so this eliminates the Square Deal. I'm not opening an ammo factory, so I don't need the 1050 :). So, by process of elimination, the 650 is the one for me.

 

When it comes to the upgrades is where I need some help.


  •  
  • I currently have Lee carbide 4-die sets for all of the calibers that I reload for. Can I stick with these and skip the die purchase?
  • Is the powder check worth it, or is it just a needless hassle?
  • The "as it should be" upgrade seems like nice accesories to have, but $41 for a bullet tray and $43 for an aluminum handle seem a little excessive. Yeah or ney on this one?
  • Primer flip tray and primer tubes- No brainer here.

 

Anything that I am missing?

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Powder check is a must, get the bullet tray it allows you to get the maximum amount of efficiency out of the press by minimizing hand movement. I like the Dillon dies because the mouths of the dies are beveled correctly for a progressive press and also they are the easier to take apart for cleaning and you can do so without messing with your adjustments, they are big help especially with lead bullets. here a video of mine rocking and rolling. http://www.youtube.com/user/deucestevens#p/u/13/qpGYvf0oXyU

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When it comes to the upgrades is where I need some help.


  •  
  • I currently have Lee carbide 4-die sets for all of the calibers that I reload for. Can I stick with these and skip the die purchase? YES!
  • Is the powder check worth it, or is it just a needless hassle? I don't use one, some folks do.
  • The "as it should be" upgrade seems like nice accesories to have, but $41 for a bullet tray and $43 for an aluminum handle seem a little excessive. Yeah or ney on this one? The Bullet Tray is a must. I use the plastic roller handle.
  • Primer flip tray and primer tubes- No brainer here.

 

Anything that I am missing? BUY THE STRONG MOUNT!!! If you want to go faster buy the brass case feeder.

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The die sets will work if the are standard 7/8 x 14. Handle is little more comfortable but my wife likes the ball because it feels like slot machine. Bullet tray I used original finished round bin and mounted to my bench bought larger bins from northern tool placed one for finish rounds and mounted another to my bench for brass. That all said I load 2-300 rounds an hour no rush with my 550. Powder check would be nice but not availabe for 550. Hope this help and I'm sure you will probably retire your lee

CW

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Your lee dies will work, as Deuce said, the dillon dies come apart for cleaning and not mess with adjustments, I have dillon dies on my 3 550's, also have the bullet tray and the cartridge tray, also have the strong mount and aluminumn handle, now as you can see I don't have the 650, but I would go with the powder check die if it was me.

 

The case feeder is a option that some like and some don't, you can also get a bullet feeder for the 650, but have heard it doesn't like lead bullets that we have to use, might want to check that out to make sure, but read it somewhere, I believe on brian enos's web site.

 

 

 

All for now JD Trampas

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I will add that if you don't get a case feeder you might as well get a 550. The case feeder rounds out the package.

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I've decided to go ahead and buy a Dillon. I was looking to buy another pistol, but my wife convinced me that the money would be better spent on a progressive press. I was looking at the Hornady, but the thread about Dillon's customer sevice was the tipping point. I've been researching quite a bit on the Brian Enos site, and plan to order from there (free shipping). I would like some advice on upgrades.

 

I have decided on the 650. I am used to auto-indexing on my Lee Classic Turret and I can't go back, so the 550 is out. I'll be loading for mutiple calibers (not immediately, but I want the capability) so this eliminates the Square Deal. I'm not opening an ammo factory, so I don't need the 1050 :). So, by process of elimination, the 650 is the one for me.

 

When it comes to the upgrades is where I need some help.


  •  
  • I currently have Lee carbide 4-die sets for all of the calibers that I reload for. Can I stick with these and skip the die purchase?
     
    Yes. Half my die sets are Dillon and the other two halves are RCBS. LOL. The Dillon dies are flared more at the bottom on the sizing die but with a properly adjusted press, the RCBS work just fine. You might want to buy toolheads for each caliber and of course you'll need the powder die and appropriate drop tube/expander. One other thing that makes caliber changes pleasurable is a powder measure set up (or a spare powder bar in the same measure) set up for your common calibers.
     
     
  • Is the powder check worth it, or is it just a needless hassle?
     
    I think the powder check is worthless and prefer to use the eyeball method. Every case is visually checked before seating a bullet. I use trailboss mainly and in the case of other powders they are loaded thusly that a light charge is really evident.
     
  • The "as it should be" upgrade seems like nice accesories to have, but $41 for a bullet tray and $43 for an aluminum handle seem a little excessive. Yeah or ney on this one?
     
    I like the standard round black ball. Tried the roller handle, didn't like it. "Worth" in this case is in the eye of the beholder. The bullet tray is VERY useful, positions bullets just right for seating. If you use a strong mount, you could bolt a bracket to hold a bin right in the same area, might be cheaper.
     
  • Primer flip tray and primer tubes- No brainer here.
     
    The big Dillon primer tray is a plus when you need to dump them out of the cardboard sleeve; too easy to miss those tiny RCBS, etc flip trays. Some guys have ten primer tubes, fill them all and crank away. I have three because I seldom run more than 200-300 rounds without a "break" and fillig primer tubes is a good way to do that.

 

Anything that I am missing?

 

Think on the allen wrench set and bracket that bolts to the back of the press. It has every one the press needs for changing/adjustment and is a handy to have them right there when you need them.

 

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My take on the accessories, and I run both 550 and 650s:

  • case feeder - great, sure, but gwd-awful expensive. If you load small lots of several types of ammo, or you are on a budget, skip for now
  • Dillon dies - sure are nicer than Lees - I'd upgrade
  • strong mount - not all that necessary, unless you HAVE to get the press up off your bench for sake of your back. Mine runs fine without it
  • bullet tray - what the heck for?
  • powder check - This is the most important item to add to a 650, regardless of who makes it (I like the RCBS lockout die)
  • roller handle - plastic roller is as good as the aluminum and cheaper
  • buy about 5 extra primer filler tubes if you like to "keep on trucking" while loading
  • think hard about the auto primer tube filler, but also gwd-awful expensive
  • get the hex key holder with wrenches that mounts on the back of the press - never hunt for a hex key when you need it, which with the 650 you will
  • The switch from one primer size to another will bug you. Either practice swapping the parts out, or get another machine for the "other" size primer cartridges
  • You NEED a die head for each set of dies you will use!

Good luck, GJ

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I just set up my 650 last night and I really like it. I like the instructions, seem to be written by someone actually reloads. I have a Lee and a Hornady progressive also and their directions are not nearly as easy to follow. I just have the basic press but plan to add the powder sensor soon. I was already using Dillon dies and they are a nice upgrade from any others.

 

Enjoy

Randy

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I didn't buy the powder check die at first and had my first squib load. Since I purchased one, this has never happened again. I think they are well worth the cost. You'll learn to love your 650 and their customer service is the best.

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IMO, the case feeder is an absolute must.

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Glad you are getting a Dillon. Hope it works great for you,and I know there customer service is number one. I reload with a Hornady Lock and load A&P and love it and their customer service is very good. I broke some pieces on my press, called them up and new stuff was on the way at no charge to me. I feel they are both very good machines and a person would be happy with either one.

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A 650 is on my wish list for sure after loading with a rock chucker for several years.

 

When I do finally get around to it I think my attitude will be "why buy a Cadillac and not get leather seats and cruise control." That is to say I'll get the case feeder, and all the goodies. For me the powder check die will be a must, I'm used to checking each round with the rock chucker, and loading with win 231 that will be a bit tough on a machine like the 650 from what I've seen. One thing I won't get is the low powder alarm for the powder measure, I think I can watch that ok, and don't load huge amounts at one time.

 

Congrats on your impending purchase.

 

Grizz

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  • Powder check - This is the most important item to add to a 650, regardless of who makes it (I like the RCBS lockout die)

I use the Dillon powder check...but after having read about the RCBS lockout die, if I had it to do over, I'd use it. It's cheaper and instead of just beeping if you have a low (or high) powder charge, it locks up the press.

 

My press has the "as it should be" upgrade and I bought the tool set with the holder. Glad I did. Buy once, cry once. You won't regret it.

 

If you have more questions, pick up the phone and call Brian Enos. He's the sort of person that will give you advice based upon what is good for you whether it is good for him (more sales) or not.

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Have loaded on both the 650 and 550 for many yrs. For the 650 the two must haves are the casefeeder and the powder check. If you don't want a casefeeder you may as well get some other press, the powder check gives tremendous peace of mind, if you don't have one you should look into the mouth of every dang case or its not "if" you get a squib, its "when", with the die if it doesen't squeal you are good to go. An audible warning is far preferable to me than having my press lock up like the RCBS die does.

Most of the other things are good but not essential, the roller handle is easier on my hands, if you use the strong mounts to get the press to a more comfortable position the bullet tray is handy but you could prop a container up there.

I load more calibers on my 550, and more volume on my 650 and for the record going back and forth between auto and manual indexing is no big deal, manual indexing is easy, natural, and has some advantages. It is a little slower.

I think I have all the add ons and use them all with the exeption of the low powder alarm, seems a little redundant if you have the check die.

Hard to go wrong with Dillon

 

Good Luck

Doc

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OK, watching Deuce's videos again, been a while, question comes to mind...

 

When the primer tube runs low or out, do you just keep an eye on it, or just notice the different feel on the prime stroke? If you do run it dry, is it a pain to re-index the machine and 'prime' the priming mechanism?

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OK, watching Deuce's videos again, been a while, question comes to mind...

 

When the primer tube runs low or out, do you just keep an eye on it, or just notice the different feel on the prime stroke? If you do run it dry, is it a pain to re-index the machine and 'prime' the priming mechanism?

Ya always drop the primer follower down the primer tube, and it sets off the low primer alarm when ya got about 10 primers left. Otherwise, you can feel the difference between a primer and nothing, if you are paying attention like ya should be.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I bought a 650 last year with all the options-- case feeder, low powder sensor, mounts, bullet tray, ect. I have been very unhappy with the purchase and the way it operates. I have many problems with powder on the turret, primers do not seat fully and I have to finish seating about 20% on my old single stage. It runs 'klunky' and you need to be very careful of pushing hard on the return stroke. The low powder sensor is a joke as it constantly needs readjusting.

Oh--- that famed customer service by phone--- is not worth bull hockey because I have to wait until monday noon to get a person cause they ain't open sunday afternoon when I reload after a shoot! The owners manual is USELESS and written in engineer so it does not tell you how to trouble shoot your problems.

If I had a time machine, I'd go back and buy 2 hornadys or 4 lees for the same money I spent on this white elephant!

I drank the kool aid -- it was left from Jonestown. I suggest you try somebodies before you buy--- wish I had! :blink:

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I bought a 650 last year with all the options-- case feeder, low powder sensor, mounts, bullet tray, ect. I have been very unhappy with the purchase and the way it operates. I have many problems with powder on the turret, primers do not seat fully and I have to finish seating about 20% on my old single stage. It runs 'klunky' and you need to be very careful of pushing hard on the return stroke. The low powder sensor is a joke as it constantly needs readjusting.

Oh--- that famed customer service by phone--- is not worth bull hockey because I have to wait until monday noon to get a person cause they ain't open sunday afternoon when I reload after a shoot! The owners manual is USELESS and written in engineer so it does not tell you how to trouble shoot your problems.

If I had a time machine, I'd go back and buy 2 hornadys or 4 lees for the same money I spent on this white elephant!

I drank the kool aid -- it was left from Jonestown. I suggest you try somebodies before you buy--- wish I had! :blink:

 

Everything you describe is a result of poor setup. Putting a 650 on your bench is not a miracle worker. I have over a 100k rounds on mine and it's still going strong. I'll be more than happy to take that elephant off your hands.

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Everything you describe is a result of poor setup. Putting a 650 on your bench is not a miracle worker. I have over a 100k rounds on mine and it's still going strong. I'll be more than happy to take that elephant off your hands.

 

Could be so-- but if so, then customer service via phone did not do a proper job helping me. I spent an afternoon getting it to just run on the phone. Got over $1200.00 in the set up, would never get that out of it.

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Put that 650 in the classifieds and I bet you will offload it purty quick. That said I use a 550 and got the video it was big help actually seeing the set up and operation.

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Case feeder

Roller handle

Lots of primer tubes. Fill em while the western channel is on.

Tool heads w/dies for each caliber.

Powder measure for each caliber.

Allen wrench holder & wrenches

I use Lee dies w/ Dillon locking rings. I also use a Lee Factory Crimp die on my .38s, well worth it since it's all mixed brass. I don't use a FCD on my .45s.

Powder check on .38s, not on .45s.

I use a plexiglass thingee that I load up to 1,500-2000 bullets in that has a built-in tray. As I pull the bullets out, the column keeps filling the tray part. From the side, it looks like an L shape. A piece of plexiglass is glued in the back corner at a 45 degree that helps funnel the bullets towards the tray. I bought several of these from Cactus Chris for different bullets.

Flip tray.

Brass goes into 3 gallon water jugs with the top opening cut larger and I pour brass into the case feeder as needed. Dirty brass is collected in the jugs until I feel like cleaning it.

Loaded rounds are collected in military ammo cans while loading. I put them in 100 round count plastic ammo boxes while watching the western channel. I stack the ammo boxes on a shelf in the garage and can see at a glance if I have enough for the next match or bunch of matches. If I'm smart, I load enough to get through the summer cause the presses are in the garage and it gets pretty hot even with a cooler and fans.

I don't use a strong mount and sit on a bar stool where I can watch the various stages.

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Lot's of good info here.

 

I plan to get the casefeeder, but not right away.

I'll have to take some measurements on my bench to see if the extra height of the strong mount would be beneficial or not.

I'll skip the aluminum roller handle and bullet tray for now. I can always add them later if need be.

I need to do a little more research on the RCBS powder check die. It sounds cheaper and less complicated, while acomplishing the same thing.

Dillon dies sound like they might be worth the extra expense. I'm sure that I can sell my Lee dies to recover some of the cash.

I'm not sure on the tool set. I have enough extra allen and wrench sets in the garage to make a dedicated set to leave with the press.

When it comes time to add a caliber, I'll get the quick change kit that comes with the powder measure. I plan on using my Lee Classic Turret for alternate calibers until then.

 

Looks like I'm getting close to a decision...

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A good link is http://ultimatereloader.com/. If you click on the brands at the top he has some really good videos on each press and most accessories. The first few times I converted calibers I took the laptop to the garage and followed along as he showed how to switch over. Great videos.

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I've decided to go ahead and buy a Dillon. I was looking to buy another pistol, but my wife convinced me that the money would be better spent on a progressive press. I was looking at the Hornady, but the thread about Dillon's customer sevice was the tipping point. I've been researching quite a bit on the Brian Enos site, and plan to order from there (free shipping). I would like some advice on upgrades.

 

I have decided on the 650. I am used to auto-indexing on my Lee Classic Turret and I can't go back, so the 550 is out. I'll be loading for mutiple calibers (not immediately, but I want the capability) so this eliminates the Square Deal. I'm not opening an ammo factory, so I don't need the 1050 :). So, by process of elimination, the 650 is the one for me.

 

When it comes to the upgrades is where I need some help.

  • I currently have Lee carbide 4-die sets for all of the calibers that I reload for. Can I stick with these and skip the die purchase?
  • Is the powder check worth it, or is it just a needless hassle?
  • The "as it should be" upgrade seems like nice accesories to have, but $41 for a bullet tray and $43 for an aluminum handle seem a little excessive. Yeah or ney on this one?
  • Primer flip tray and primer tubes- No brainer here.

 

Anything that I am missing?

 

Howdy Buckshot

 

I love my Dillon 650 and the service I have received.

 

When I ordered it I specified that I wanted it set up for .38/357

 

The machine came set up for .38 except for the primer tube assembly. This drove me crazy for a week or two before I became so frustrated I called Dillon. They diagnosed the problem in about 10 minutes and had a new assembly to me that week. Nothing but happiness ever since.:wub:

 

I haven't gotten the casefeeder yet (after a whole year). It is a pain in the be-hind feeding cases 15 at a time but other projects have taken precidence.

 

Powder check has saved my be-hind several times. Would not live without it (maybe literally).

 

Happy reloading.

 

Waimea

 

:FlagAm:

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Buckshot Frank, let me start by saying that I am into "Cheap and Function".

 

Like most SASS shooters I am highly opinionated about the stuff I use, that being said

 

let me get up on the Dillon Soapbox. I have one 650 and two 550b's ( one 550 with case

 

feeder).

 

The 650 is the Cadillac. it arrives with all of the allen wrenches you will need.

 

It comes with two large and two small primer tubes and a low primer alarm.

 

The roller handle is great, but not necessary and can be added at any time.

 

Dillon dies are very good and sooo easy to clean, but not necessary.

 

The strong mount is good, but depends on your mounting situation, not necessary.

 

Bullet tray can be fabricated, easily.

 

The electric case feeder and the powder checker makes the 650 fly and thats why we buy the

 

the 650....

 

Caliber changeovers are a little pricey, but bite the bullet, they are worth it in the

 

long run.

 

Put your allen wrenches, die wrenches, small flash lite, long tweezers,and a screwdriver

 

in a plastic tray, cut down the side of an "Akro" bin for bullets and you will be reloading

 

very good ammo easily and fast. You will need a cheap plastic flip tray.

 

Putting soap box away.

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on a budget.....pistol only loads? Square Deal B. Been running one for what seems like a eternity. No complaints.

For rifle calibers I use a 550, amazing machine as well.

 

Get a primer sensor, stand and bullet tray. Get the spare parts kit. Use clean brass.

 

You won't be sorry, if there is a problem, thier customer service is amazing even if it was operator error.

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Can someone please tell me what the depth measurement (front overhang of base to back of case feeder) is on the 650? I'm trying to figure out if I have room on my reloading bench without removing the shelves.

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Howdy Buckshot

 

I love my Dillon 650 and the service I have received.

 

When I ordered it I specified that I wanted it set up for .38/357

 

The machine came set up for .38 except for the primer tube assembly. This drove me crazy for a week or two before I became so frustrated I called Dillon. They diagnosed the problem in about 10 minutes and had a new assembly to me that week. Nothing but happiness ever since.:wub:

 

I haven't gotten the casefeeder yet (after a whole year). It is a pain in the be-hind feeding cases 15 at a time but other projects have taken precidence.

Powder check has saved my be-hind several times. Would not live without it (maybe literally).

 

Happy reloading.

 

Waimea

 

:FlagAm:

 

Waimea

 

Go down to the hardware store and get yourself a 10' length of 1/2" (1/2 inside dimension, 5/8" outside dimension) plumbing pvc pipe. Measure 15 .38 cases and cut the pipe 2" longer than that. Drill a hole near the end of the pipe large enough to insert a small dowel, nail, whatever. You can now fill the tubes with .38 cases at your leisure kinda like primer tubes and fill the case feeder on the machine without stopping for as long. Just a thought.

 

Sun

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About 14 inches, front edge of machine bolted close to front edge of bench.

 

Hope this helps.

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About 14 inches, front edge of machine bolted close to front edge of bench.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks. That's what I was afraid of. My reloading bench is 17" deep, but I have a shelf at 24" in height that cuts the depth down to 12". I might have to notch the shelf around the casefeeder.

 

I think that I will go ahead and get the casefeeder now. When I priced my initial wish list, the price was over $1,000 so the casefeeder was the first thing to go. After I wittled away the unnecessary items, I can afford to add the casefeeder back in.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO IS BUY THE VIDEO. BUY THE VIDEO. BUY THE VIDEO. STEP BY STEP AND YOU WILL BE A HAPPY CAMPER.

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My two cents....I had a Hornady LNL. It is a very good press and when I had powder rotor trouble, after several conversations, they did finally send me a new unit at no charge. A pard gave me a good deal on a 650, and since I had a 550 years ago, I bought it. I'm a machinist, so I made a strong mount, a primer catcher tube that let's me run them down in a two liter pop bottle, and I bought the case feeder...high priced but well worth it. I also built me a bullet tray, but starting out, you could get the right height box and put an Akro bin on top of it with your bullets in it, it will work fine. I also bought the powder check, we are racing and I am not really fast, but why take the chance on putting two down the barrel? I got one set of Dillon dies, and used a set of RCBS in my 2nd set up. This meant I had to buy another tool head and powder measure to change from pistol to rifle without any adjusting. I will sell the RCBS dies as soon as I can and buy another set of Dillons because they are easier to clean and you have to screw in the RCBS dies so deep to get them to work. I like the round handle personally. Get some spare plastic clips that go on the fail safe rod on the powder measure. And last, I read some comments about the 650 being lousy, and I have to agree with Duece, if ya don't get it set up right, sure it will give trouble. I NEVER had trouble seating a primer unless the case was bad. Ask another pard to help, lots of them use 650's and would straighten it out....

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Well- the 550 is back in the running. I watched a lot of videos of both presses and learned two things. First, I was making the manually indexing out to be more hastle than it really is, and second, I could make a month's worht of ammo in less than an hour on the 650 with the case feeder :o . I want the new press because I'm currently spending too much time reloading, but I really don't need to go that fast.

 

I keep reading that changing calibers in much easier on the 550, but the conversion cost is about the same. What makes the 550 better for multiple calibers?

 

I think that I'm going to have to call Brian Enos or Dillon on Tuesday. I'm terrible at making decisions...

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